Review: ‘Henry James’ the Ghostly Rental’

Roger Corman takes on Henry James and the results are just about what one might expect. "Henry James' The Ghostly Rental" is indeed a B-movie spin on upscale Victorian Gothic, but it's not quite the campy fun it could've been. There's a decent yarn lurking in here somewhere, though it's smothered by remarkably bad acting, much too dark lensing and leaden pacing. Lacking the requisite thrills 'n' spills to please the action crowd, this bloody ghost story will be a marginal video item at best.

Roger Corman takes on Henry James and the results are just about what one might expect. “Henry James’ The Ghostly Rental” is indeed a B-movie spin on upscale Victorian Gothic, but it’s not quite the campy fun it could’ve been. There’s a decent yarn lurking in here somewhere, though it’s smothered by remarkably bad acting, much too dark lensing and leaden pacing. Lacking the requisite thrills ‘n’ spills to please the action crowd, this bloody ghost story will be a marginal video item at best.

James (Andrew Bowen), a young student, pressures his girlfriend into having an abortion, and they soon head to see a criminally negligent abortionist/butcher, who ends up killing the woman. The tormented James seeks advice from the mysterious Professor Ambrose (Michael York), whose life has been torn apart by a number of gruesome tragedies in his family. Pic is brutally dark , both thematically and literally, and the latenight lensing becomes irritating fairly quickly. Thesps are undistinguished, with York’s perf notable mostly for his craggy, world-weary look.

Henry James' the Ghostly Rental

(SUSPENSE DRAMA)

Production

A New Concorde production. (International sales: Concorde-New Horizons, L.A.) Produced by Roger Corman. Co-producers, Mary Ann Fisher, Michael P. Flannigan, John Brady. Directed by Mitch Marcus. Screenplay, L.L. Shapira, Marcus, based on the short story by Henry James. Camera (color), Russ Brandt; editor, Daniel J. Holland; music, Ivan Koutikov; production designer, Ian Bailie. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 20, 1999. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

With: Michael York, Andrew Bowen, Claudia Christian, Aideen O'Donnell.
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